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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Sunday, January 07, 2018

New Year! Honoring Free Speech on This First Month of 2018

Occasionally I reprint something from my #SharingwithWriters newsletter to this #SharingwithWriters blog because I think it is important enough to reach a broader audience. On this first day of 2018, I think Mindy Phillips Lawrence's Itty Bitty column (a misnomer in this case because it is such not an "itty" topic at all) is important enough to be shouted to the world. Journalists are being murdered and the press, though it is not always right, is being attacked for insidious purposes.  As writers--even if we aren't journalists--we recognize the power of words. As caretakers of those words we should be especially interested in understanding how important they are and stand up to protect them, spoken or written.  History shows us that over all free exercise of speech and press has time and again been the catalyst for nothing less than the protection of humanity itself.   As Salman Rushdie says,

“Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.”

So here is Mindy's "Itty Bitty" contribution for you to do some brushup or just some plain honoring on this, the first day of 2018. 

Writing and the First Amendment 
By Mindy Phillips Lawrence

BILL OF RIGHTS: Amendment One

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

It the United States, we have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. For years, we’ve been a sanctuary for writers from other nations who were denied this ability and, in some cases, jailed and executed. They’ve been able to come to America and write, sharing the freedoms we’ve enjoyed since the original Bill of Rights was enacted in 1791. As writers of books, plays, poetry, news articles and memoirs, we can include information that may offend some people. We continue to write the best truth we can find through our research. We can make political statements out loud and in print without being arrested—so far.

Recently, there has been an attempt to weaken these liberties. Press from certain news services have been barred from reporting due to their political bent. Some have not been allowed to speak, or bullied if they do. What do writers do when they see the possibility of having their words deemed unacceptable because of a weakening of the First Amendment?

We’ve been a fresh start for writers coming to us to write in safety. Where do we go if we become unsafe in our own country?


Asylum Cities for Writers

Why are Famous Writers Attending the World’s Most Important Security Conference?

Poet Who Left Iraq for Freedom to Write

Denial of Access

Politico Reporter Denied Access

White House Barring Reporters

Media Outlet Ban

10 Influential Authors Who Came to the US as Immigrants


Mindy is an editor and author. She is assembling a book of her past Itty Bitty columns from my #SharingwithWriters newsletter--each complete with resources for curious (and sometimes industrious) authors. It will be launched early in 2018, she promises.  If you would like to keep up with her work or read has past columns, you'll find them in the newsletter archives at  http://howtodoitfrugally.com/newsletter_copies.htm   

You can also subscribe using the link in the upper right column of the page.


Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com )

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